Cibola National Forest

The Cibola National Forest (pronounced SEE-bo-lah) is a 1,633,783 acre (6,611.7 km2) United States National Forest in New Mexico, U.S.A.. The name Cibola is believed to be the original Zuni Indian name for their pueblos or tribal lands. The name was later translated by the Spanish to mean, “buffalo.” The forest is disjointed with lands spread across main and northern New Mexico, west Texas and Oklahoma.

The Cibola National Forest is divided into 4 Ranger Districts: the Sandia, Mountainair, Mt. Taylor, and Magdalena. The Forest includes the San Mateo, Magdalena, Datil, Bear, Gallina, Manzano, Sandia, Mt. Taylor, and Zuni Mountains of west-central New Mexico. The Forest also handles four National Grasslands that extend from northeastern New Mexico eastward into the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma.

The Cibola National Forest and Grassland is administered by Area 3 of the United States Forest Service from offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Elevation varieties from 5,000 ft (1,500 m) to 11,301 ft (3,445 m). (The preceding figures do not consist of any of the 4 National Grasslands mentioned below, which are detailed in their individual articles.) The coming down order of Cibola National Forest acres (not counting the 3 Grassland areas) by county are: Socorro, Cibola, McKinley, Catron, Torrance, Bernalillo, Sandoval County, New Mexico, Lincoln, Sierra, and Valencia counties in New Mexico. The Cibola National Forest currently has actually 137,701 acres designated as Wilderness. In addition to these acres, it has 246,000 acres classified as Inventoried Roadless Areas pursuant to the Roadless Location Conservation Guideline.

The Cibola National Forest is organized into numerous departments over 3 states. The Rita Blanca National Grassland 92,989 acres (376.3 km2) in Dallam County, Texas and Cimarron County, Oklahoma, Black Kettle National Grassland 31,286 acres (126.6 km2) in Roger Mills County, Oklahoma and Hemphill County, Texas, and McClellan Creek National Grassland 1,449 acres (5.9 km2) in Gray County, Texas remain in the Oklahoma-Texas panhandle area. The combined Cibola National Grasslands are 262,141 acres (1,060.8 km2) in size.

New Mexico is house to much of the Forest, including the Kiowa National Grassland 136,417 acres (552.1 km2) in Harding, Union, Mora, and Colfax counties, New Mexico. The Cibola National Forest’s Sandia Ranger District is just east of Albuquerque in Central New Mexico and consists of the most checked out mountains in the state of New Mexico.

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